Wednesday’s NFL action was swift to take control of the investigation into the alleged sexual harassment perpetrated by Daniel Snyder, Washington Commanders owner. The league, and not the team, will hire an investigative to handle the probe.
Wednesday morning, the Commanders announced that they had hired an external investigator to investigate claims by Tiffani Johnston that Snyder had groped her at a team dinner over a decade ago. He then pushed her towards his limousine with his hand on her back.
Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesperson, stated that the team would not be in control of the probe.
“Last Week, the league stated that it will review and examine Ms. Johnston’s allegations just like any other allegation regarding workplace conduct at Washington Commanders. McCarthy stated that the league and not the team will conduct an independent investigation. They will retain an investigator to quickly determine the facts.
These developments follow a predictable pattern. Former employees of Washington’s NFL team complained about sexual harassment by team executives in 2020. The team hired Beth Wilkinson, an attorney to investigate. Wilkinson presented her findings to Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner.
NFL slapped $10 million on Snyder and temporarily gave the day-to-day operation of the franchise to Tanya. The report of Wilkinson has not been made public.
Many former employees of the team accused Snyder of creating a toxic culture for women. However, Snyder had never been accused personally of sexual harassment until Johnston presented her accusations to Congress last week. Johnston declined to take part in Wilkinson’s investigation.
Snyder denied the allegations and called them “outright lies.”
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent over 40 former employees of the team, quickly dismissed Johnston’s announcement that it had employed outside investigators. Johnston was not to be involved in the “sham” investigation, according to the lawyers.
“The notion that Dan Snyder hired a team of investigators to examine his actions is absurd.” Banks and Katz stated in a statement that this was a desperate public relations stunt designed to absolve Snyder of any wrongdoing.
According to the team, it had appointed Pallas Global Group LLC as its consulting firm to supervise the probe and Debra Wong Yang, an ex-U.S. attorney and California judge, was to be its leader. It was not clear whether the league would hire the exact same investigators.
The Commanders stated that the team was committed to an independent and thorough investigation into Ms. Johnston’s allegations and pledged full cooperation in the investigation.
According to the team, the results of their investigation would be made public.
Johnston was a cheerleader for the Redskins team in 2000s and as a marketing manager. In 2020, the team changed its name to avoid being criticized for being offensive to Native Americans. This was in response to protests of systemic racism following George Floyd’s death. The Washington Football Team was its name for the last two seasons. Snyder revealed the new team name last Wednesday.